Universities should be careful about offering interdisciplinary education to bachelor students, says the Young Academy. Studies such as Politics, Psychology, Law & Economics (PPLE), Future Planet Studies and Liberal Arts & Sciences (at the Amsterdam University College) are on the rise.
Interdisciplinary education has many advantages, says the Young Academy, a youth platform of the KNAW (the Dutch Royal Academy for Sciences). Students learn to approach social problems from multiple disciplines and are thus more flexible in the job market.
However, it believes there are also risks, such as the increased likelihood for courses to tend towards the superficial. ‘Think of wide-ranging literature studies and how they could lead to loss of more specialised knowledge in languages.’ The Young Academy prefers that students start with one discipline before later choosing to broaden their horizons. ‘As long as there is no disciplinary basis, it is wise to bring in interdisciplinary education in a controlled way.’
The report was written by four scientists and was based on a survey among university staff and in-depth interviews with teachers and professors in interdisciplinary education.